Posts tagged Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation Update

My parents decided to go with the 5 year plan. We all agree it’s the best option. The payment is about $600 lower then what we’re paying for all the credit cards individually. So hopefully my parents will be able to start saving some of their money, instead of it all going to bills. The consolidation rep we’re working with said that this might hurt my parents’ credit for a little while, but then it should get better. The bad thing is, my parents can still use the few credit cards that they didn’t put into the consolidation plan. I don’t want them getting swept up in more debt just as we’re starting to get things straightened out. Also, now that this will free up some funds, maybe I’ll be able to quit the part-time job at the end of October. That would be very nice. Then maybe I could have a life again! Haha!

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Debt Consolidation & Reduction

After checking out a debt consolidation company’s website &  the Better Business Bureau’s website, my dad decided to give them a call. I helped him print off all the credit card accounts that we have access to online & helped him get everything in order. My parents have two options to choose from. One that has a much lower payment per month, but will probably negatively affect their credit score. Or one that has a somewhat lower payment per month & probably won’t hurt their credit score. They’re obviously going to take the second option. This option will lower the amount they are paying now towards their debt & will help them get it paid off in 5 years. However, they will not be allowed to own any credit cards. I don’t see a problem with this, but my mom did. She thinks everyone “has” to have at least one credit card. I explained to her that no one “has” to have a credit card & there are many people who have taken the road less traveled & choose to live without one. The perfect example is NCN over at No Credit Needed. He doesn’t use credit cards & neither do a lot of people. There’s a lady that works with my aunt who doesn’t even have a debit card. I know this because back when I worked for a department store, we had this “event” we had to sell fragrance & cosmetic items for & this woman was nice enough to order a few items from me. The only problem was we needed a credit card or a debit card number to charge on the day of the event. She explained to me that she had gotten herself into some trouble with credit cards. After she got herself out of the situation she was in, she vowed never to use a credit card or debit card again. She said it was just too great of a temptation.

I think she’s right. I too sometimes get the urge to spend what I don’t have. I love cosmetics, even though most of them are not good for the enviroment, & I love electronics! I’ve had several different brands & styles of cell phones since I first got one at age 18. I have a habit of wanting to have the newest & best out there. I know I don’t really need these things, but these are some of the things that sometimes drive me to spend money I don’t have. That’s why I think it’s great that my parents won’t be able to use credit for a while. Maybe they will find out they’re much happier without the cards & choose not to get new ones when they’re able to. I would love to go back to the days when I didn’t have a credit card. It’s much easier to talk yourself out of buying something if you don’t have the money or the ability to charge it. I think once I get my credit card paid off that I will cancel all credit cards & try going without them for a while.

And since we’re talking about credit cards…

I posted earlier about my Citibank card offering a 0% interest rate on any balances I transfer until March 2009. I did go ahead & transfer my balances over. So now I only have one card with a balance!!! I can’t really consider my other accounts paid in full until the balances are paid off on the Citibank card, but at least it’s just one payment now instead of several. This should make my budgeting a little bit easier & hopefully I’ll be able to pay extra money towards it since there’s no interest. Once the credit card is gone I can focus on paying off my auto loan. That would be awesome! It’s been several years since I haven’t had to pay a car loan. That is definitely something I’m looking foward to. And I have every intention of driving my vehicle until the wheels fall off, so to speak. I don’t want to have another auto loan for a very long time!

[Edit: Asgreen over at Always The Planner has made reference to my post & has done some research about a company called Freedom Debt Relief. Thank you for the mention! 🙂 The company that my family is using is called Amerix Corporation. They have a satisfatory rating with the BBB. ]

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Family Situation

So far this blog as been all about me. Normally, I don’t like to share my or my family’s personal business. However, since this is anonymous & for learning & reflect purposes, I will share some of our situation. My family’s situation extends into more then just my own personal debt. My parents have been married for 20+ years & it wasn’t until the end of last year that the rest of us found out that my father had a gambling problem. No one had a clue. Yes we knew that dad liked to go to the casino once in awhile, but he didn’t go all the time. For awhile, he would maybe go once a week. Then there were years where he didn’t go at all. Little did we know that even though he didn’t go frequently, he was losing large amounts of money most of the time he was there. What’s even worse is that he was using credit cards to gamble, losing the money, then using the credit cards to pay our bills. A VERY BAD No-No. My mom always wondered why didn’t have money to go on vacation & we didn’t live an extraggant lifestyle. My parents are self-employed & for a long time the only days they didn’t work were Thanksgiving & Christmas day. Dad was always the one who handled the money. Anytime mom asked questions, dad would just get mad & yell at her. That should have been an indicator to my mom. That one single thing should have put up a big red flag letting her know something was wrong. But my mom never really pushed the subject very hard. They’d argue about money & then she’d let it go. I think subconsciously she didn’t want to know.

We didn’t find out about dad’s problem in nearly enough time to stop it. And the only reason we found out at all is because of me. I’m the type to push the envelope with things & after finding out that dad had ran up the bill on a credit card in both my parents’ names, I got curious. Where was the money going? Why didn’t we have a better home life? Why wouldn’t my dad fill out the financial aid form when I first went to college? So I did something that technically would be considered illegal. I looked up his credit score online. I know I know, it wasn’t my business to get into, but this hasn’t only hurt my dad. This has affected my whole family. My mother has a lot of health problems & she can’t work. Although she can’t work, she also can’t collect disability. So the only income my parents’ have is the business my dad runs. If something were to happen to my dad, his life insurance would just barely cover the debt he’s in. I’m scared that something will happen to my dad & leave our family broke. Another fear I have is that something happens to my mom & then my dad ends up blowing what little life insurance she has. I’m scared for my whole family. This is the main reason I work so hard & have 2 jobs to support myself & pay some of the bills at my parents house. This is the main reason I haven’t moved out of my parents’ house. They need the extra help. My brother & sister are a little younger & still live in the land of denial. They don’t fully understand or accept the consequences of my dad’s actions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my dad. I ALWAYS will. And I know that he loves us. I personally believe that gambling addiction is a disease. His father had it & he has it & by the Grace of God neither me, my brother or sister will end up with it. He always thought that he’d be able to get the money back, but couldn’t. I know it may have been wrong to find out the way I did, but Thank God I did. I don’t regret what I did at all. We needed to know so we could all make an effort. Thankfully we at least found out about it now rather than later. We’ve all been trying to work toward getting the payments current & lowering the debt so my parents’ can work with a consolidation company to get things under control. We were turned down once before, but that’s been 6-month ago. We’re going to try again this week & hopefully this time it will work.

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